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File #: 130746    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: ADOPTED
File created: 10/17/2013 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action: 10/24/2013
Title: Calling upon the Philadelphia School District to make Howard Zinn's best-selling book "A People's History of the United States" a required part of the high school U.S. history curriculum as Philadelphia City Council recognizes the need to expose students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is typically found in traditional textbooks that often ignore the influence that people of color, women, and the working-class had in shaping our nation's history.
Sponsors: Councilmember Kenney, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Greenlee, Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Jones, Council President Clarke, Council President Clarke, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Green
Attachments: 1. Signature13074600.pdf
Title
Calling upon the Philadelphia School District to make Howard Zinn's best-selling book "A People's History of the United States" a required part of the high school U.S. history curriculum as Philadelphia City Council recognizes the need to expose students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is typically found in traditional textbooks that often ignore the influence that people of color, women, and the working-class had in shaping our nation's history.
Body

WHEREAS, The empowering potential of studying U.S. history is often lost in a textbook-driven trivial pursuit of names and dates. Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" emphasizes the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history; not simply the version retold by those powerful enough to ensure history remembers their actions in a positive light, regardless of the truth; and

WHEREAS, It is imperative students understand that history is made not by a few heroic individuals, but instead by a nation of people's choices and actions, thereby also learning that their own choices and actions matter; and

WHEREAS, In the first chapter of the book, Howard Zinn notes how so much history-telling focuses on the elite; the presidents, the generals and industrialists. It is a winner's history, and implicitly teaches students to pay attention to the victors and disregard the rest. Zinn rejected this notion writing, "I prefer to try to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees, of the Civil War as seen by the New York Irish, of the Mexican War as seen by the deserting soldiers of Scott's army, of the rise of industrialism as seen by the young women in the Lowell textile mills, ...[and] the New Deal as seen by blacks in Harlem"; and

WHEREAS, "A People's Histo...

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